“The style is the man himself.”
I’ve always written for myself; not for glory or money or recognition, but because, through writing, I feel most real and alive. When I write, I feel like my life has meaning and purpose; I have something to offer, and something to give.
The competition has always been with myself, not with other writers. Always honest about the state of the words that tumbled onto the page, the thrill was in bettering myself, stretching myself, sweating those writing muscles into top shape and then editing and polishing my writing in that moment, satisfied with the knowledge that if I kept at it, it could only get better. I knew that, like anything else we practice over time, the voice, style and stories would continue to improve as long as I included my heart and soul fully in the efforts. So, no matter what you do, do it with your heart and soul.
Writing has its own purpose and necessity, too, separate from what we’re supposed to be chasing in life: money, fame, things. Most of us write because we have to write; because we love it, live it, and feel compelled to do it. It’s what we do, what we were born to do, it’s who we are, and maybe, even maybe, it’s the way we change the world — one little word at a time. Making someone smile or even pause because of something you wrote WILL change the world, because it changes that reader‘s world.
Even the shadows we throw to the ground aren’t shadows of us, but of writers. Not one cell of our being remains unaffected. I’ve always looked upon this as a gift; it’s a gift of clarity and compassion, to write the words that touch people, help people, facilitate revelations and change, cause others to slow down and think. And like with any gift, it’s not ours, but exists for others. That “truth” always kept me going, those times I despaired of ever being “good enough”.
If they allow it, writers can become a channel for the universe, a funnel for knowledge and truth. Open and willing, holy, even, you bless others with your word-offerings, which then, blesses yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a rape scene, love scene, vampire or gnome scene. It’s in the sharing of what bubbles up from the depths of your being that makes the act holy.
We live in a world where we often feel powerless, overwhelmed, not good enough and unimportant. On those days when everything in our lives exists to be lost or tripped over, when what we have isn’t the same as what we need, when everything glass is made to shatter and we feel we have nothing to offer anyone, let alone our writing, that’s when the world needs your writing the most. Give yourself understanding and compassion, and your writing will reflect this, and pass it on to your readers. Whatever it is you want to give to your readers, make sure you first give it to yourself, first.
Water that word-garden by growing yourself, and your words will grow and ripen, accordingly. Who knew a little self-cultivation could grow a good story, novel or poem? The writer. The writer with the watering can.